At least two suspected rhinoceros poachers were mauled to death and eaten by lions at a game park in South Africa this week, park authorities say.

Sibuya Game Reserve rangers say they discovered the remains on Tuesday afternoon, along with tools frequently used by poachers in the region, including a high-powered rifle equipped with a silencer, an axe, and wire cutters.

Reserve owner Nick Fox said they made the grisly discovery, which had “all the hallmarks of a gang intent on killing rhino and removing their horns,” near a pride of six lions.

“We’re not sure how many there were,” Fox told AFP. “There’s not much left of them.”

Fox said park rangers immediately contacted South African police and the region’s anti-poaching unit. Several lions in the vicinity were tranquilised in order for authorities to investigate the scene further.

BBC reports police are patrolling the region in case any of the suspected poachers survived the attack.

Rhinoceros poaching continues to be a serious issue across the nation, thanks to a sustained international market for their horns.

They are sold on the black market in regions such as Vietnam, where they are falsely thought to have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. 

More than 7,000 rhinos are known to have been poached in the past decade.

The number of recorded poaching incidents has dropped slightly since their peak in 2014, but it remains an incredibly serious issue affecting the nation’s rhino population.

Well, it might be slightly less of an issue after Tuesday’s discovery.

Source: BBC
Image: Godong / Getty Images